Between a much-needed vacation or an extended trip for work, taking a trip means making plans for your heating and cooling system. You can't use it while you’re not home, so you can make adjustments as necessary to conserve your energy use. Simultaneously, you shouldn't just shut it down for the entire time you're gone.
Instead, it’s best to leave your HVAC system on and just raise or lower depending on whether it's winter or summer. That way you can reduce energy costs without stressing about returning to an uncomfortable home. We’ll explain why you should avoid turning your HVAC system off as well as the ideal thermostat settings for summer and winter.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Thermostat on Hold
While you could be inclined to shut your HVAC system down before a trip, this could end up stirring up big problems by the time you come back. This is notably true if the weather will be severely hot or cold while you’re away from home.
As an example, shutting the HVAC system down during the summer will sometimes cause very high humidity. Not only will your home feel muggy and uncomfortable when you return, but it may have also stimulated mold/mildew growth or pest infestations.
And over the winter, not using the furnace could lead to pipes freezing or even bursting. It’s exhausting to get home from a long trip only to come across extensive water damage near a broken pipe.
Ideal Thermostat Settings While at Work
You can adjust the temperature even if you’re coming and going to work. Since you’re away for about 8 hours or longer, it doesn’t help your monthly energy bill to keep an empty home at the same temperature you’d usually have. Generally, it’s suggested to adjust the thermostat by 5 degrees or more. This means that if you prefer a comfortable 72 degrees, try increasing it to 76-77 while you’re at work.
But you can save even more if you’re willing to further adjust the temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you may save around 10% on your HVAC spending by making an adjustment of 7-10 degrees.
Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings While Away from Home in Summer
If you leave for an extended trip in the middle of summer, you can make more significant adjustments. This ensures you don’t waste energy while still safeguarding your home from the hassles that come with leaving it uncooled. Around 5 degrees is suitable for short trips while a larger adjustment of 10 degrees is worthwhile if you’ll be gone for 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy keeping the house at 72 in the summer, 78-82 can offer great results.
Best Thermostat Settings While On a Trip in Winter
To try and find the most energy-efficient thermostat setting for a winter getaway, consider lowering the temperature by the same amount you would raise it in summer. 68 is a popular winter thermostat setting, so turning it down to 63-58 will keep your plumbing safe while limiting how frequently your furnace operates.
A Smart Thermostat Can Help: Advantages of a Smart Thermostat
One of the best ways to regulate your home’s HVAC system while out of the house is with a smart thermostat. This special type of programmable thermostat employs intelligent software to track your usual comfort habits. It learns these preferences and makes automatic adjustments to the schedule for better energy efficiency. And with Wi-Fi integration, you can remotely access your HVAC system from a mobile device or tablet.
Smart thermostats are stuffed with features to help you save even more. For example, specific models can observe electricity prices to increase heating or cooling when prices are more affordable. They are compatible with high-efficiency, variable-speed equipment to fine-tune how long your HVAC system has to run. It’s the ideal tool to enhance how you control your comfort system. If you’re considering investing in a smart thermostat, there are multiple ways you can reduce your costs, effectively getting a smart thermostat for free. The next time you leave for vacation, you can appreciate true peace of mind that your HVAC system won’t stir up any trouble while you’re away from home.